header photo

A Baseball Fan's Collusion Solution

by Danny Rockett

Yesterday, Brodie Van Wagenen, a head baseball agent with a fake sounding name, took to Twitter to accuse baseball owners of collusion for not bestowing enormous contracts in terms of dollars and years to this years somewhat thin class of free agents. He cites an average player salary that has only risen from $3.2 million to $4.1 million within the last 5 years,in his Twitter memo to decry the owners cheapness. So let me help you with another number Brodie to get you even more pissed off.

Franchise values for the 30 MLB owners have more than doubled in the past 5 years. From $18.1 billion to $46.1 billion. So not only are Brodie's players not getting signed to exorbitant contracts for the declining portion of their aging career, but they are getting a smaller piece of the profit pie. Sounds like a shit deal for the players doesn't it? Well, excuse me if I don't boo hoo for a guy making $4.1 million a year which is over 136 times what I make. Here's why.

I'm not writing this to go into all of the reasons the owners don't want to sign these players; because they are one of the 10 teams choosing to tank; because they are waiting for next years better class of free agents; because they want to stay under the soft luxury tax; because they don't want to pay an aging player for past performance. The list goes on. No. I'm not going to step into a fight between millionaires and billionaires who are sad that they can't buy an extra house, yacht or airplane. I'm writing this because I could live 136 years at my current lifestyle on one year of the average player salary. And if I had an owner's money? Well, hell I might just go get my head cryogenically frozen like Ted Williams and try to live forever! 

This squabble between the 1% and the 1%tier only has to do with me in one very important way. I am one of the millions of people who give them the money they are fighting over in the first place. The teams get the money from us and every year they want a bit more. 

Average MLB ticket prices, which of course vary from team to team, are up 13% in the last 5 years. Wrigley Field beer prices are up 25% and totally screw the vendors. I used to buy an 8$ goose island and pay with a 10. Now that it's 10$, we're making change. I still tip, but when beer was 9$, I started only tipping a dollar. A 50% cut for hard working vendors. Fans buy hats and buttons and pennants and shirts and hoodies and purses and bracelets and flip flops with our favorite teams logo emblazoned on them. The record profits and 25% player wage increase is paid for by us.  We give them the money. 

But now the agents are crying collusion and the players are grumbling about a boycott of Spring Training with whisperings of a strike. It would certainly be a shame if a strike were to occur, but hey, the average player has the dough to wait it out. So do the billionaire owners. Others, like the vendors, t-shirt sellers, writers, podcasters, ushers, announcers, anthem singers, mascots, and in most cases minor league baseball players, do not have the funds to last a lost season of baseball. The shame of a strike would hurt all of those who surround the game and we'd all lose our jobs while the millionaires and billionaires duke it out over their fair share of our money. The fans will suffer too of course, not financially though, in fact, think of all the money we'll save by not buying tickets and beer! The billionaires and millionaires will posture and pose about arbitration years and luxury taxes and the fans will all go do something else and be pissed that there's no baseball. This would suck and a generation of baseball fans could be lost.

So what's the solution to the impasse between the 3 tiers of baseball's business community with varying financial power and conflicting interests? Well. I've got it. 

First. The billionaires and millionaires need an attitude adjustment. Be happy you're so fucking rich! Seriously.

Players, you play a kids game and we all like watching it. You make a shitload of money for playing. Congrats on winning the genetic lottery and having all your hard work and sacrifice pay off. You rock. We love you. 

Owners, you were most likely born rich. Congrats on winning the family lottery. You have so much fucking money that you could have decided to become an evil mad scientist planning the destruction of the world with a sonic death ray on your own private island, but instead you bought a shiny toy like a baseball team and doubled your money.

But the owners and players being happy and content in their attitudes is just the beginning. The next step is the most important.

Charge the fans less. Or at least stop charging us more. We're sick of paying so much. 

Baseball franchises need to freeze prices right where they are or roll them back. Because the next 300 million dollar salary is going to come directly out of our pockets. Me and you. The fans. It'll be paid for with every ticket and hot dog and beer we buy for an extra buck or five over the next decade. The agents and players and owners can squabble, position, threaten, and strike over how to divvy up our money all they want, but what will they do when we stop giving it to them? 

I'm no accountant or economist, and I don't have enough money to be a capitalist either, but I do know one thing. The accountants and capitalists with support from economists are hell bent on taking your money so that they have way more than anyone needs to live during an average lifespan or 10 lifespans. But give it a fucking break will you? For us? The fans? The ones who afford you the extra house and yacht? 

We fans are happy to fork over our hard earned pay every year for all the joy and entertainment baseball brings us. But quit gouging! Take less. You have plenty. Be happy. You are so shit ass rich!

You want to know why baseball is losing to other sports in popularity? There are many reasons I could cite, but one of the most important among them is the fact that my poor ass family wouldn't be able to afford even attending a game in 2018 on a Saturday afternoon in summer like we did in 1983. Meanwhile, y'all are arguing over pitch clocks and ruining extra innings to shorten the game. These adjustments barely matter, like the no pitch intentional walk which apparently added time this past season. Make it affordable for a family to go to a baseball game without spending a weeks salary and you'll sell hot dogs to that 6 year old kid in attendance for another 80 years. Thus, the owners and players can continue being way richer than the rest of us for decades if not centuries longer. We fans will continue spending a large percentage of our income on baseball.

Personally, I would take my nieces and nephews to a ton more games, but I can't afford to do it. These are fans MLB is losing. My passion for baseball came when parents would take me and my sisters about once a month, and I started going to games with friends with 10$ in my hand for a ticket, lunch and bus fare at about age 13. Now, for most families, it's a once a year or every other year proposition. I can't even sit in the bleachers with my friends for less than $100 on my birthday this year because the Cubs are playing the White Sox on a Saturday. I'm thinking of just watching the game at Nisei lounge rather than have all my friends be gouged at the so called Friendly Confines while getting elbowed by some fat south sider in a goat mask. 

So, stop padding your salaries with our money. Be happy you're rich. Because if you strike while fighting over our money, many of us are going to think you are all just a bunch of greedy rat bastards, knowing that any agreement you come to will end up costing us. You know, the fans, the people who pay for baseball.

PS. Give the greedy SOB's even more of your dough by clicking below. It's a sale!





Go Back